The teaching of the Elementary Education Department is a reflection of the mission statement of the College of Education: to develop teachers who are effective, urban educators who are reflective, innovative and committed to diversity. We believe that this mission is based on important principles of learning that we try to demonstrate in our teaching with our students at WSU, and which they can then transform and enact in their own teaching. Some of these beliefs include the following:
- We believe that learning is sense making. For this reason we ask questions in our classes at WSU that encourage our students to share their problem solving strategies and offer reasoning for the hypotheses that they propose about different learning scenarios.
- We believe that learning is social. For this reason we encourage our WSU students to collaborate with their peers in various ways, such as assisting each other on technology projects, sharing their views on classroom readings, and working on some investigations together.
- We believe that learning is multimodal. For this reason we offer our WSU students opportunities to express their understanding of concepts and ideas through a variety of modalities, such as writing, dramatizing, speaking, drawing, constructing models, and incorporating music in their presentations.
- We believe that learning is making connections. For this reason we invite our WSU students to make personal connections to their work at the College by tying it to their background knowledge, interests and cultural values.
- We believe that learning is both a process and a product. For this reason we endeavor to cultivate important dispositions about learning in our WSU students, such as taking risks, persisting, inquiring, and valuing the contributions of others.
- We believe that learning is interdisciplinary. For this reason we develop learning experiences for our WSU students that allows them to use reading, writing, mathematics and the arts across subject fields.
- We believe that learning is central to a democratic society. For this reason we raise issues about equity and social justice, such as inviting our students to critique historical narratives, and analyzing who is privileged, marginalized and/or silenced in these accounts.
All of these beliefs demonstrate an asset model of learning. We believe that all students at WSU have important knowledge, dispositions and perspectives that are rich resources for their peers as well as the WSU faculty. In this sense we view our students as fellow learners who offer us as much as we offer them. It is a journey we travel together.